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Us 27, United States 7, Vicki 4, Newtown 4, Mourning 4, Connecticut 4, Anderson Cooper 4, Oklahoma City 3, Obama 3, Matthew Crebb 2, Jessica Yellin 2, Anderson 2, Pop 2, Fiona Smith Sutherland 2, Hartford 2, Boston 2, Sanjay 2, Massachusetts 2, Brooke 2, Dannel Malloy 2,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
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    December 16, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00pm PST  

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people are going to know tomorrow. that's just the world we live in through social media obviously, just talking to other people. so there's going to be a lot of tough conversations, wolf. i think i have had some of those already with my own kids. i think it's one of these things where people are going to have to have the conversation be as transparent as possible. i think some of the important tips are to allow -- first of all, i always say check your own pulse before you go into a medical situation. here you check your own feelings. you want to make sure you're not over talking the child, but also making sure you listen to them first. see what they know and then slowly start to fill in details. but you're absolutely right. these are the conversations that are happening frankly all over the country over the next couple days. >> as we speak right now, the president is still comforting people, some of the family members who have suffered so much. i can only imagine how those conversations are going. what does even the president say to a mother and a father who lost a 6-year-old?
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>> yeah, i don't know. i can't imagine what those conversations are like. i think simply being there, simply showing the support, simply again having people come together. you know, i think suffering in silence, suffering in isolation, you know, dealing with this anguish i think probably makes it that much harder. so i think that he can help with. >> let me reset what's going on right now, and i want to welcome our viewers not only here in the united states but around the world. we're standing by for the start of this prayer vigil, this interfaith prayer vigil that will take place here at the newtown high school. you see the folks are gathering. they're trying to comfort each other. we're watching what's going on as the president of the united states. he has arrived here. he flew from the white house, from andrews air force base outside of the white house in suburban maryland, flew to hartford and then drove. the weather here is not good
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right now, so he could not chopper -- could not come over by marine one. had to drive from hartford, an hour, hour and a half drive from here, and we're in newtown watching what's going on. all of these makeshift memorials have just sprung up. you can't -- you can virtually not even drive through the small streets of newtown right now it's so, croso crowded. people are bringing candles, flowers, candles, teddy bears, legos. we're getting ready for what will be a very, very emotional memorial service. i'm wolf blitzer reporting here from newtown. anderson cooper is right down the street. he's near the high school. he's joining us as well. anderson? >> yeah, that's right, wolf. i'm actually right right outside the high school. you see the inside of the auditorium there and really full to capacity. a lot of people still outside looking like they're letting some more people in. i'm not sure what part of the
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high school they'll be in. they'll probably have some overflow rooms available. we also understand the president is already inside the high school, has been meeting with the families of those who have lost loved ones and trying to offer them some comfort and listen as much as talk, i'm sure, in cases like this. often just listening to parents talk about their child, about what their child was like, sharing stories and sharing in that grief. our jessica yellin, our chief white house correspondent is also here with me. do we know what the president is going to be saying tonight? >> i'm told that he'll talk about the nation's obligations to our children. they're not getting more specific than that, but i think that that means both as families, as parents, and, you know, personally to connect with your loved ones, and probably maybe a broad reference to our obligations to take action. again, we don't know what the president really means by that.
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is it some sort of political action. but, you know, in these speeches, the president is very good, anderson, about finding moments of heroism to talk about resilience and the american spirit and moments that sort of connect us to what's good about our spirit. and so that we find something positive in all of this. >> and there are certainly many moments that we know of already from what happened in that school on that day, teachers like victoria soto who essentially seemed to have sacrificed her life in order to protect her students, telling the gunman that the students were not in the classroom when she had hidden them. and i have talked to teachers who were, you know, literally -- they knew something was going on, didn't know what it was, and they sat their kids down, got them in the corner and read to them all during the shooting and just trying to keep their kids calm and keep them -- their minds diverted until a s.w.a.t. team arrived.
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>> that's why it's just such a chilling story, a chilling experience, because these were young children, and i think that's what the president has an obligation and he knows the challenge to connect with. the sense this was a community that did everything right. look at what the school did with security they put in place, with how devoted these teachers were. i mean, two threw themselves at the gunman to block their way and it happened to them, and it's an instance where you have -- it's so senseless. there's no way to explain even when the police uncover the motive. there's no way to explain why this had to happen. >> and president obama speaking as a father tonight as much as as the president, as a father who no doubt had to explain to his own children what happened. >> it's such a good point, and, you know, when -- the times we see him get emotional, it is when he's talking about sasha and malia, and it's interesting, the moment he choked up on friday when he was speaking
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about this tragedy was when he said, these beautiful children, these beautiful children, that's when he started to cry. and, you know, i have said it before, but that was the most emotional i have ever seen him in public, and it was a powerful moment for the nation of release for the whole nation and a way for everybody to express grief. he went to his own daughter's dance rehearsal today. i don't know if he was planning to anyway, but, you know, it's sort of -- i wonder if he just wanted to spend time with his kids. >> do we know is the first lady with him? >> she's not. >> she's not. >> she's not. his family is home tonight, but he did get to spend some time with the girls today. >> he is just one of the many speakers who will be talking during this service. was to begin at 7:00 east coast time. it now seems like it may be delayed somewhat. we're not sure if that's because the president is continuing to
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meet with families or what the reason for the delay is, but obviously we will bring you the service in its entirety when it begins, and you're seeing the inside of the auditorium right now. supposed to last about two hours, so it's going to be quite a lengthy service. there's a number of speakers, a number of readings from various religious texts. there will be some audience participation in those readings as well. i see a number of people who it looks like have been told that there's no more room, so it looks like a number of people are leaving this high school. we've been seeing people come, but even as we see people leaving, we see more people arriving, more families arrivi g arriving, even bringing their little children hoping to get inside, but there are many places throughout this town where people can participate in a sense and can feel as if they are all part of this. we've been seeing one of the makeshift memorials don lemon is
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at a few plblocks from the high school. i saw someone bring 26 balloons and tie them down at a memorial. people bringing whatever they can, little me mentos they feel are important. they just want to take a moment and pause and remember. wolf? >> you know, anderson, sort of a very different circumstance indeed, and it reminds me in the aftermath of the oklahoma city bombing when president clinton went out to oklahoma city and delivered a really beautiful, powerful address that not only the people in oklahoma city, but throughout the country and, indeed, the world, an address that resonated. this is one of those key moments for this president of the united states to do the same thing and as jessica has been reporting and as we've heard the president personally got involved. he's an excellent writer, and he
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has worked hard in making sure that the words he will say tonight will he believes hopefully resonate not only with the folks out there, people watching here in the united states and around the world, but most importantly maybe bring a little bit of comfort, a little bit of comfort, and god knows these people are going through hell right now, the families of those who died, the 26 people who were ki8d lled so brutally friday morning. sanjay is here as wp. sanjay, this is a challenge for this president. he's been re-elected. he's got four years ahead of him, but this is one of those seminal moments that historians in the future will look back at this speech and say, this was a moment that the president stepped up. >> that comforter-in-chief is terminology that's been used. it's a question of right now he's meeting with these parents, as you mentioned, wolf. he's working on these remarks himself. my guess is having worked in that capacity in a white house
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before, you know, his remarks may change even after he meets with these parents and is so affected and touched by what he's hearing from them. so i think that the sort of -- what we hear from him i think is very much going to reflect that. he's still meeting with them now, as you point out. this was supposed to start around 7:00, but he does not want to be rushed. he wants to have that time to meet with these families. we don't know what he is saying, and i don't know, as you said earlier, what he could possibly say, but that's what's happening right now. >> we saw those 26 glasses there, memorial to the 26 who were so brutally assaulted and killed friday morning. 20 children ages 6 and 7, all first graders, and six teachers, six teachers, all women, for no reason, no reason at all. we don't understand what happened, and now we'll hear from representatives of all the major faiths here in the united
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states and they're gearing up. we'll have music and we'll have powerful words. reverend matthew krebin, the senior minister of the newtown congressional church, united church of christ, he will open up. i had an opportunity to meet with him at his church yesterday and you see some of the clergy there, including the rabbi who is there as well. you see him wearing the skull cap with his back to us. he and reverend krebbin, they were both inside the fire hall where all the families gathered, the governor was there, dannel malloy, and at one point the governor started telling family members, parents, who was alive and who wasn't alive, and, you know, and both the minister and the rabbi said to me, it was one -- it was the most powerful
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moment, the shock, and these are clergy, they're supposed to comfort. they didn't know what to do. >> these parents, they did not know, they were waiting, hoping, seeing children come out and hoping that one of those children would be theirs, but for so many parents that didn't happen, and the governor was the one, you heard this morning, wolf, that ultimately told them, conveyed that information, that horrible information to them. >> he felt it was his responsibility, governor malloy, his responsibility as the governor of the state of connecticut to deliver this horrendous news. no news could be worse. children bury parents. parents are not supposed to bury their children, and this is an unspeakable tragedy that has afflicted -- that has impacted this small opportunity. under 30,000 people live here in newtown, and, you know, they've all gathered here. you see representatives from all the faiths who have come to remember, to reflect, and they hope bring some comfort to those who are in mourning.
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>> you know, i don't know how i would behave, wolf. i'm sure you don't know how you would either in a situation like this. i have been pretty amazed at how quickly people have come together. when you think about robbie parker, this 30-year-old physician's assistant who lost his daughter emilie, i was, again, as i think so many people were, stunned and blown away by how forgiving he was, how compassionate he was, and how -- i mean accept eppsance is proba the wrong word but he had developed a plan to forgive and turn this tragedy into something that could be of comfort to families all over the country that may go through something like this, the loss of a child, wolf. >> yeah. there's nothing worse that any parent, anyone could endure than losing a child, and when we see the pictures of these little kids and we see their ages, we see their names, we appreciate -- i don't know if we could ever appreciate, but you begin to sense the enormity of the pain these parents and their
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loved ones, grandparents, are going through right now, uncles and aunts. you see the clergy there on the right of your screen. that's senator blumenthal, the junior senator from connecticut, soon to be the senior senator from connecticut once senator lieberman retires and he will be leaving with the new senate sworn in in january. don lemon is here on the streets of newtown himself where all these makeshift memorials have strong u sprung up. people just flocking to newtown. they want to do something. they aren't sure exactly what they can do but they want to do something. >> reporter: and not just from the area. tim is here. wait until you guys see this. tim is here and tim is from the chicago area, right? >> correct. lutian church charities. >> reporter: and these are comfort dogs you brought in yesterday. >> yes. >> reporter: why? >> we brought them in to bring comfort to people during disaster times of loss with people. they just come in for people to
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pet. they have vests that say please pet me. that's what you're doing right now. >> reporter: this is luther. that's prince. who is that? >> that's ruthie, chewie. >> or chewbacca. >> reporter: do you go around to different areas where people are in need to do this? >> right. we do it in disaster response situations or situations like this and we place dogs in churches and schools. we have 60 dogs out there placed in six different states to do this sort of thing. >> reporter: get down here with me. tim, if you want to see, look at the kids over here. dave, go over here. if you look at the kids, this brings you joy to pet this dog? >> definitely. >> reporter: yeah? a smile -- listen, i haven't really seen anyone smiling out here and these dogs showed up and the kids started smiling. this is mare mom, kathy. when your kids saw the dogs, what happened? >> they lit up. they lit up inside and they were even more excited to hear that
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they were here to spread comfort and we're religious, and we believe that having a sense of god being around us brings that kind of comfort. so it's really exciting that people came from chicago. >> reporter: show the dogs. what are the ages of your kids? >> my kids are 13, 12, and 5. we're from massachusetts. >> reporter: and you also brought, you said, a sign. >> we brought the orange sign with the blinking lights. we just -- we felt like it was important because there weren't really any good words to fix people's grief, that if they saw an action, that people loved them enough to come and walk and remember their children that it would help. >> reporter: the sign says we are holding you close from massachusetts, but again when you look at, wolf, you know, the dogs that can bring a smile to the face of children and really to everyone, and when these dogs showed up here, everyone started
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to flock around these dogs. they started to pet them and they started to smile. and it's just one of the ways here that people are coming together to help this community not only from the area but really from all over the country. you put smiles on people's faces. does that make you smile? >> we bring mercy and compassion and help people to deal. >> reporter: you couldn't help yourself when you saw what happened here? >> wee see this all the time. if it helps people, that's what we're about. >> reporter: go towards the dogs. you see everyone here walking up and these dogs have become the center of attention. i have to tell you, it does -- and they're all around the memorial over here. it does warm my heart to see this because everyone has been so sad here, and as i said yesterday, i was talking to anderson i believe, that i haven't seen faces like this, people who sort of have blank looks on their faces since i saw the rescuers, quite frankly, down at 9/11, and then these dogs really are helping. >> yes. >> reporter: i wish there were
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more. >> a few weeks ago we were in new york city with the dogs and helping people there and then in new jersey, same thing. walking them with children. >> reporter: how many other organizations are you aware of around the country that does this? >> i'm not aware of any that has organized program that does this. >> reporter: the kids over here. you said you're not aware of what? >> i'm not aware of any that does this, that breeds and trains their dogs and places them in churches to do this. they're at nursing homes, hospitals, wherever, but particularly in situations like this where you have a tragedy. >> reporter: yeah. wolf, you know, one moment of just a little comfort here to the people who really need so much comfort and so much help and just a dog, a couple dogs are able to do it. i wish there were more. i wish there was more we could do for the folks here, but this at the moment, this is at least a little bit. >> you know, those dogs, i'm sure, are very comforting to some of the people who are there, don. those are really moving reports
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you're bringing us, and we're going to come back to you as we await the president of the united states, the clergy, they're getting ready for this interfaith memorial service. we'll hear music, we'll hear prayers, we'll hear passages from the psalms and we'll hear from the governor of connecticut. we'll also hear from the president of the united states. this will be a very, very moving service, and we can only hope and pray that it will bring some comfort to those who are in mourning right now. anderson cooper is watching what's going on as well. anderson? >> yeah, wolf. we're outside the high school where this service is going to take place. i'm with donna morrissey from the american red cross. you have been here since friday. you came down from boston? >> i did, yes. >> what's the red cross doing here? >> i'm joined with 100 red cross volunteers providing food and water, assistance to not only the affected families but the first responders and the whole community. one of our big pushes is to provide emotional support and counseling for those who are dealing with the unimaginable.
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in fact, tonight we were here, we handed out about 400 of these little puppies to the kids waiting in line. just something they could hold onto, provide some sense of comfort to them. >> this is for the kids waiting in line to get into the service. >> we handed out about 900 blankets. it's cold, it's rainy, and they're really just dealing with such an unimaginable tragedy. we want to be here to just provide some level of support during these dark days. >> how do counselors -- what does a counselor say at a time like this? >> well, many people obviously are overcome with grief, and that's normal for them to feel that way, and so we have counselors meeting one-on-one. we have people providing resources just to be there in the moment. we have some people that are -- have been profoundly affected directly, have lost loved ones. others that just are in a state of shock because, as you know, driving through this community, it's, you know, quintessential small town that you'd love to be a part of, you'd love to live in. you see kids, a close-knit community, and it's been rocked.
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even for veteran volunteers for the red cross, this is a magnitude that we're caring for our volunteers as well because it's just so overwhelming, but yet we need to put our grief aside, come in and do the job that we're here to do, and just wrap our arms around the people and give them a shoulder to lean on. >> you're also reaching out to first responders. >> we are, and i'm so amazed by the professionalism. yesterday there was a police officer in front of me, and this woman came up and literally collapsed into his arms, and he just wrapped himself around her and was a steady force. and these are folks that are the fabric of the community. they have kids, and yet they're here doing the job that they've been trained to do. so this is bigger than one organization, one group, but if there was one message we could bring to the community here, that is that people across this country and beyond are sending a message of love and hope and support, and the red cross is here and we're going to stay
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here as long as needed. >> and i certainly hope people in this community feel that because i have heard from people all around the world, and this is -- this has been the front page reports in all the newspapers all around the world, and we've seen an outpouring of people, and i hope that the people here feel that because there's a lot of love and a lot of prayers and support for them. >> all of the people that we met with as we handed them a dog or a snack or water or a blanket tonight were thanking us. this is the least we can do. we are here during their time of need. driving through town tonight, there was a villagil of 26 litt angels, cards people were signing. there's such an outpouring of community spirit in the face of such horror, and so our hope is that we can join sholder to shoulder and arm in arm and just be here in their moment of need. >> you came from -- before this you were at hurricane sandy responding to that. what is it like for you to see this? >> when we received the call that there was a report of a
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shooting at a school, our hearts skipped a beat, and within a couple hours we knew that we were needed. we already had local red crossers here and i was from boston. we jumped in a car and just started heading this direction not knowing what we were going to find. when we first drove in, what struck me was the houses of worship that were overflowing, the young kids, too young to have to deal with this with their heads hung low, and the hush. there was a very hush of silence as we drove in. the next day to see what should have been a joyous holiday time and yet people were dealing with little ones, just little ones taken far too soon. it just was something that you had to kind of get ahold of yourself. for me personally, i wanted to just sit down and cry my eyes out, right? i thought of my own nieces. i thought of little ones around the holidays who should be out, you know, with songs and lights and enjoying what life has to offer, but yet i felt as a red
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cross volunteer i needed to just kind of compartmentalize, put it aside, and go and do what we needed to do. but it's far beyond what i have ever been on and the deployments i have done for the red cross, but we're here, we train year round for this and that's what we do as a humanitarian organization, we come when the need is the great he est. >> i don't know anybody who has been here for a few days that hasn't shed a lot of tears. >> thank you for all your doing. >> thank you. remarkable work. wolf, again, that's the scene here. we've been told about 15 minutes from now is when the service is going to begin. we've been given a 15-minute warning to the start of the service. so just want to remind our viewers we will be broadcasting the entire service without any interruption. we won't be talking over the service or anything like that. we know how annoying that can be for viewers. you will be hearing the service as the people inside are experiencing it themselves, and outside the scene at the high school again, more people still continue to come and there is an
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overflow room we're told, but we believe that's about at capacity as well because it looks like a number of people have been kind of turned away and are moving back to their vehicles, wolf. >> people are inside that auditorium, anderson at the high school. you're just outside that high school. i'm down the street from the high school. this is a service that i think all of us will always remember and representatives of all the major faiths will participate with prayers, with music, and we'll also hear, of course, from the president. he's still comforting some of the family members, the parents of those who were killed, the loved ones, six adults, all women, 20 children brutally killed friday morning at this elementary school. and we're learning more about these victims. brooke baldwin is standing by. brooke, you've been getting some amazing stories of some of these people who were so senselessly killed at the elementary school friday morning. >> reporter: it is absolutely
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heartbreaking, wolf, when you look at this list of these 20 young victims and never have i ever seen a list where you look at the ages and they are all in the single digits. so as we learn much more about these little ones who are no longer with us, we're learning also about the heroes. in fact, we're learning about this first grade teacher, vicki, she went by vicki, it's victoria soto. her little sister carly is inside that memorial. she just tweeted about her big sister. carly soto tweeted, going to meet mr. obama. wish vicki was here. dressed in all my big sister's clothes looking cute in honor of sissy. her sister, vicki, was that first grade teacher who quickly thought on her feet and protected as many of her little 6 and 7-year-olds as she possibly could. in fact, police later found seven of those youngsters sort of huddled surviving in a closet in that first grade classroom. we know that according to
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vicki's cousin, quote, she instinctively went into action when a monster came into a classroom and tried to protect the kids she loved so much. we want the public to know that vicki was a hero. let me tell you about another hero, the principal. donna hochsprung, 47 years of age. had been at this elementary school for two years. she was passionate. she loved children. the children loved her. she had a smile on her face. this one friend says she was a tough woman but a tough woman in the right sort of way, and security was a priority for her. again, she had been there for two years. she had already installed this new security system to make sure if there were to be a visitor at the school once the front doors locked at 9:30 in the morning, you had to ring the doorbell. she lunged at the shooter friday morning along with the school psychologist and that is when she was taken down. she was yelling according to reports to a teacher down the hall, close the door, lock the door from the inside. she was married, two daughters.
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she'll leave behind two daughters and three step daughters and just quickly here, the 30-year-old daughter has said this, christina, my mom was taken tragically from me, but she went down in a blaze of glory that truly represents who she was. dawn hock struhsprunghochsprung. 56-year-old mary sherlach, she was the school psychologist. she was with the principal when they heard the pop, pop, pop friday morning right around 9:30, and, again, she tried to see what was the matter, and that is when she was killed. she has been married according to what we've learned about her, she had been married for more than three decades, and she was the proud parent of two daughters. she loved gardening, reading, and going to the theater. these are just a couple of the names and just to reiterate what everybody has seen and experienced around town, i got to newtown and just walking around these vigils not a dry eye in sight. seeing not only adults dropping
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off ornaments to place on the trees or candles or presents, you see their itty-bitty children hand in hand with their parents, 4, 5, 6 years of age walking around with stuffed animals, perhaps that they took from their own tree just to be able to give in honor of these youngsters so tragically taken from us way, way too early. wolf? >> brooke, thank you. i want to show our viewers this picture here. take a look at this. sanjay is with me as well. this is the ribbon a lot of these people are wearing. it's a ribbon that they've attached to their clothing. it shows not only the ribbon but it shows a little angel right in the middle there if you can get up close, you can see that little angel, and if you see people wearing this ribbon at this memorial service right now, you'll know what's going on. sanjay, i'm hoping this will bring some comfort, a little bit of comfort, but there's nothing really that we can do. you see these are people
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obviously who are suffering right now even as we await the president of the united states and representatives of the clergy to deliver some words. >> it's a small town, wolf. you really -- you can really see how well people really know each other. maybe some of these people are seeing each other for the first time. you can see obviously the service is starting to begin here, wolf. >> you see some of the people arriving. we're waiting for the president of the united states. he'll be arriving momentarily. some of the first responders are there as well. the president met with them. let's listen. [ applause ] and we want to welcome our
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viewers in the united states and around the world. special coverage of a memorial service, an interfaith memorial service, honoring those who were so senselessly killed, senselessly killed friday morning at an elementary school here in newtown, connecticut. you see at this high school first responders have arrived. those who were involved in dealing with this crisis as it unfolded. people stood and gave them a standing ovation as they arrived. the president will be there momentarily. the governor of connecticut will be there. representatives of various faiths will be speaking, delivering prayers, we'll be hearing music. this will be an emotional and moving ceremony, memorial service, especially because we know that parents of some of the children who were killed, relatives of some of the adults who were killed will be in this audience. many of them have just met with the president who came here to newtown, connecticut, to offer some comfort.
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anderson cooper is with us as well. anderson? >> and we, of course, will be bringing you this entire service. we anticipate it lasting about two hours or so. we will bring you the entire service uninterrupted without commentary, but we are just awaiting the start of it which we believe is just a minute or two away. let's listen in again as we see more responders arriving. let's listen to the crowd applaud. [ applause ] for many this is the first time they have seen some of these first responders since friday. president obama is already on scene in the high school, has been meeting individually and
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privately with family members of those who have lost their children and also family members of the teachers and the school administrators who also lost their lives, the six adults, the 20 children killed in that school. our jessica yellin is also standing by, our chief white house correspondent. there is an overflow room for people who were not able to get into that auditorium, jessica. >> there's an overflow room and a group of people the president has been meeting with. he's been obviously taking his time talking to them privately. anderson, i can also tell you the president took his time working on these remarks. i'm told he worked on them himself. he wrote them personally and on his way he worked on them as he flew here and on the car ride over here. and the speechwriter who helped him prepare these remarks is the same person who helped him write gabby giffords speech and his eulogy for senator ted kennedy, his mentor. >> we have just been given a notice that the service will
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begin in about four or five minutes from now. that is what everybody is now seated waiting for the start of this service. sanjay gupta is also standing by with us as well as wolf blitzer watching along with us, and sanjay, you were out at the crisis center yesterday where many families have gone bringing their children just to try to get some advice on how to talk to their children and probably many people who visited at that crisis center are probably in that room tonight to take part in this service. >> yes, there's no question, anderson. i didn't really know what to expect going to a crisis center like that. this was so raw still for so many people, but i will tell you, you're absolutely right. people showed up. there were at least 100 cars at that time in the parking lot. this was yesterday afternoon, and people went in and they stayed in there for some time,
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and clearly, you know, the services of psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatric counselors, child counselors were there, but people were going in, wolf, and they were staying there, and i think, you know, part of the counseling i think obviously very important, but, you know, just watching what's happening here in this small town where people know each other, they raised each other's kids. they don't live in these individual silos like so often happens in big cities. this is a community that you can tell is very tight-knit, and when they went to a crisis center, as they call it, i think a lot of the comfort they were getting was just simply being around each other and being acknowledged they weren't going through this alone, that this was something that they were going to go through and get through together. >> and i don't know how people, you know, experts, counselors can prepare. are they trained to deal with a horrendous crime like this, somebody just going into an elementary school and killing teachers and first graders? how do you prepare?
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are there graduate schools in crisis centers that can deal with this kind of situation? >> one of the most renowned centers in the country actually is at yale, new haven. they would a phone line open. the crisis center was danbury hospital. i think you're right, in medical training it's obviously hard to train completely for these things, but the idea that you want to try and prevent psychological damage as much as possible, and that involves this counseling early on. >> you know, we're going to hear, anderson, we're going to hear representatives of different faiths speaking, delivering prayers tonight, and many of them deal with this question. it's a fundamental question. you know, how can god allow these kinds of tragedies to take place? and there is no answer for this. various religions have different concepts on this, but this is a crime committed not by god. it's a crime committed by man,
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and these crimes happen. >> the crowd hearing a piano playing up at the front of the auditorium. ♪ >> the music minister at the trinity episcopal church, fiona smith sutherland, is bringing this music to gather everyone together. the president will be walking in shortly, and then we will hear the reverend matthew crebb and the senior minister of the newtown congregational church who will be opening up this vigil, this special memorial service, and then he'll be followed by the rabbi here in newtown. he will read a scripture from psalm 46. all of these prayers, anderson,
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will have special meaning and presumably will bring, we hope, we can only hope and pray, that they will bring some comfort to those who are in mourning. ♪ >> you know, there are going to be read frtiings from the episc church, the koran, the lord's prayer. as you say, this is a service that is going to incorporate many different faiths. wolf, you were asking how do you come to terms with something like this, and i think as you say, different faiths are going to have different approaches to this, but it's going to be a truly diverse service tonight. >> we will also have a special reading, a prayer from john woodall. i met with him yesterday. he's a leader of the baha'i community. he's also a psychologist and has
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worked in crisis centers over the years. a very intelligent man. he will be delivering a special prayer as well and others representative of the -- of various faiths will be speaking, and then, of course, at the end of the service here, we'll hear from the governor, dannel malloy. we'll hear from the president of the united states, and a final prayer from the reverend bob weiss. he's pastor of the st. rose of lima roman catholic church here. all the faiths, sanjay, are really represented here. if you take a look at the list of the 26 people who were slaughtered at that elementary school, it represents america. there are representatives of all the faiths there as well. >> no question, and i will tell you just getting a little glimpse of the first responders sort of coming in and hearing the sort of reception they got. wolf, i can tell you a lot of times after something like this
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happens, you don't often times have time to reflect on something like this. and those emotional hugs, these guys coming together, it's remarkable. >> all right. you know what? the president is about to walk in. the service is about to begin. the music minister at the trinity episcopal church is performing now. let's listen in. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ [ applause ]
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>> fiona smith sutherland, the music minister here in newtown, connecticut, with gathering music as they're calling it for this interfaith prayer vigil that's about to begin with the reverend matthew crebb, the senior minute store of the newtown con ggregational church will be welcoming everyone with opening remarks and then we will be hearing prayers from various ministers and representatives of the major faiths here in the united states. we're awaiting the president, who has been very busy over the past couple hours. he's been meeting with the family members of the victims who were so brutally killed friday morning at a small elementary school here in newtown. he's been trying to bring some
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comfort to them. he's been meeting with them. he's also met with representatives of the first responders, the police, the firefighters, others, the emergency medical personnel who immediately came to the scene. you saw some of them walking in to this high school, the newtown high school, where these people have gathered for what is expected to be a very powerful, emotional memorial service. anderson cooper is standing by. he's right outside the high school. anderson, i know this has been delayed, but it's for a very good reason. the president is with those families and we can only imagine how painful this must be for all of them. >> and there are dozens of families who have not been able to get into the high school who are now leaving the building. some of them wrapped in blankets given to them by the american red cross. it is very cold out. there's rain outside. but a lot of people still, despite the elements, wanted to be here, wanted to bear witness
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to this, to share in the tears, to share in the remembrances of those whose lives have been lost. ♪ president obama has been on scene for at least an hour or so talking with the families and just itthe families of the children, of the school administrators, the families of the teachers who lost their lives, the principal as well, dawn hochsprung. we anticipate about a two-hour service once it actually begins. we'll be bringing it to you, of course, uninterrupted, and our
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coverage, of course, will continue on after that well into the night. there's also a number of makeshift memorials which are visible and some outside the high school that have been growing in size all day long, and a number of -- the one you see there is downtown newtown. a very small, small community here. we've just been given a two-minute warning, that the service will begin, but we've been given some warnings in the pastz that have continued to e and it's for a very good reason, the president has been meeting with family members. he doesn't in any way want to cut that short. we've been told the service will begin if two minutes from now. >> and we will be hearing prayers, meaningful prayers, various psalms, various scriptures. in addition, we'll be hearing
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from representatives of the islamic center here in newtown, as well a reading from the koran and a special prayer. we'll be hearing from the methodist church. we'll be hearing from the ecumenical chaplain of the lutheran home of southbury. all of these faiths will be here. they will try to give some comfort to those who are mourning. sanjay, as we wait for the start, the formal start and the reverend matthew crebbin, we look at the pictures of this community, it's a small community that's been really, i think, so powerful devastated by what has happened. >> and some of these people, wolf, seeing each other for the first time since all of this happened. you saw some of the images as people were walking in, and those hugs just told a lot. the looks in the faces. we saw the first responders come in, and we hadn't talked about
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the impact on them as much, but they got a standing ovation, wolf, and i think even them talking to each other, they often times don't have time to reflect on what has happened and they may not get much time even now, but clearly the small town where kids -- where parents raise each other's kids, you're seeing it here. you're seeing them come together and you're seeing inside the room here, wolf, as you pointed out, there is an overflow room. there are people outside. there are village jigils all ar. >> a lot of these people have brought their children with them to this memorial service. these are makeshift memorials outside right down the street from where we were. people just bringing candles and flowers and toys, and now the president. [ applause ]
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on behalf of the newtown interfaith clergy association, i welcome all of you. we needed this. we needed to be together here in this room, in the gymnasium, outside the doors of this school, in living rooms around the world. we needed to be together. to show that we are together. and united. we gather in such a moment of heart break for all of us here
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in newtown. we gather especially mindful of family and friends and neighbors among us who have lost loved ones by an act of unfathomable violence and destruction. we gather to grieve together, to care for one another, to pray and embrace, to weep and to remember and to declare in our many voices that these darkest days of our community shall not be the final word heard from us. we will sigh in our sorrows, but we will also care for one another with our love and our compassion. in those early hours of this crisis, it became clear to we clergy and faith leaders here in
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newtown that an initial community response would be needed, that we would need to come together, and so we asked our first select woman and our superintendent if it might be possible for us clergy to invite the community to gather here at newtown high school to continue and to begin and to continue what will be, for many, a long journey through grief and loss. we are not here to ignore our differences or to diminish our core beliefs which define our many different faith traditions, but to offer our love, care, and prayers for our families and our community. we wanted to offer our voices in the form of words from our sacred texts and prayers from the depths of our being, but also to have time for us to be together in silence. and that is what we will do.
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we will have a time for sharing and prayer and also a time for silence in between so that all of us can pray as we wish and think about what it is that is most important to us. now there's a reason why all of the clergy are sitting down there and not up here, and we hope you don't get tired of seeing us have a long walk up to this podium. but we wanted to be -- to have a symbolic gesture that we ourselves are with you and among you in these coming days. that we are all in this together. we want you to know that our care for this community extends beyond the walls of our various
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houses of worship and the people within them. we are here for all of newtown. that means that you who are of st. rose catholic church, in the midst of your tremendous grief, there is a jewish rabbi with a torah in hand ready to speak words of comfort and do whatever he can to uphold you in the coming days. and temple of israel, you have the service of a japanese-american united methodist minister ready to pray for you and sing songs from john wesley. we congregationists know we have muslim brothers and sisters ready to offer prayers of comfort and acts of compassion. pentecostal is willing to pray with episcopalians, independent christians, and to others.
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and all of us willing to offer and receive comfort and support from those of no faith. you see, now more than ever we need each other, for we are all in this together. that's why we even had our politicians sit down there as well. as sign and symbol and reminder to all of us that we are in this together. so now let us come together. let us pray. let us listen and let us seek the comfort of our various faiths, drawing from words and prayers. fear not for i am with you. be not dismayed, for i am your god. i will strengthen you, i will uphold you with my victorious hand.
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god is with us. god's love unites us, god's purpose steadies us. god's spirit comforts us. bless be our god forever and ever. amen.
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>> i offer you this prayer from my heart to your hearts. on behalf of all of your childr children, all of your loved ones. the hebrew memorial prayer. please rise.
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